AT the end of this month, Lingfield Point is celebrating 60 years of its existence on the edge of Darlington by staging an exhibition.

But to make the exhibition successful, it needs memories and memorabilia – your memories and memorabilia.

The 107-acre factory complex is a remarkable product of its time. It was built in the late 1940s and early 1950s for the Patons and Baldwins (P&B) wool company, which relocated to Darlington from Halifax.

One of the reasons it came to Darlington was the town’s large pool of untapped female workers – all the local men worked in heavy industries, like the railways, but there was not much mass employment for the women.

By 1951 P&B employed 2,000 people at its new state-of-the-art factory, 75 per cent of whom were women.

They produced 250,000lbs of wool a week in what was hailed “a wonder factory . . . the world’s biggest knitting wool factory”.

P&B had an old-fashioned attitude to its staff. It built streets for its key workers – The Broadway and Estoril Road – and a school, Heathfield, for their children. It provided excellent sporting and social facilities for them, most memorably the Beehive – a 2,000-seater canteen by day, and a dancehall and concert venue by night.

At its peak, P&B employed 4,000 people at Lingfield Point, and during the 1950s, 30 per cent of Darlington’s school leavers found employment there.

Were you among them? If you were, the current owners, Marchday, would love to hear from you.

They are collating memories, and collecting memorabilia, for their exhibition which will be held in the stunning modernist P&B headquarters, with sweeping staircases and bronze balustrades featuring knitting symbols.

Please get in contact with sara. or call 01325-486486.

The exhibition will run from July 29 to August 8, from 11am to 2pm.

More details in future Memories..

  • Even if you don’t have any memories, you might be able to answer this: Estoril Road, on the edge of the Firth Moor estate, was built by Patons and Baldwins for its workers – but why did they choose the name “Estoril”? Estoril is an area of Portugal, near Lisbon, but what is its connection with Darlington, or wool-making?